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Backed fighters retake more areas from IS in Syrian town

Backed fighters retake more areas from IS in Syrian town

The US-backed SDF has captured swathes of northern Syria from IS, and in recent days overran most of the strategic Euphrates Valley town of Tabqa.

Ridding IS from the dam at Tabqa is crucial as the SDF advances toward the de-facto IS capital of Raqqa, 40 kilometers downstream on the Euphrates River.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said on Monday the SDF now controls about 80 percent of Tabqa.

Khalil told The Associated Press the attack came a few hours after IS suicide bombers dressed in civilian clothes sneaked into the town of Shaddadeh and attacked SDF forces, triggering clashes that were ongoing.

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They are supported by elite U.S. forces and air strikes by a US-led coalition.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said: "The Old City has been entirely taken and there is fierce fighting going on at the gates of the new town".

The local news Hawar News Agency (ANHA), close to the SDF, reported that the clashes in Rajm Slebi have stopped as the mainly-Kurdish SDF forces were able to drive out the attackers.

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The pre-dawn attack took place after militants entered the village of Rajm Sleibi, on a front line that separates the Kurdish-controlled Hassakeh province from IS-held areas further south. The largest and most powerful groups in the coalition are the main Kurdish militias known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, and the Women's Protection Units, or YPJ.

The Kurdish Red Crescent said 22 civilians had been killed.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey carried out strikes against the YPG last week, killing at least 20 fighters.

The developments come amid fresh escalation in tensions along the Turkish-Syrian border, with Turkey and the USA moving armored vehicles to the area.

"Daesh fighters are nearly finished in Taqba", he said.

Elsewhere in Syria, opposition activists said IS killed 10 of its own after accusing them of selling weapons to arms traders.

"While in Astana, the special envoy will be supporting efforts by the guarantors of the ceasefire and other participants to de-escalate the military situation", said the statement announcing his travel plans. At least 14 civilians were killed by airstrikes carried out by the US-led global coalition in the outskirts of Raqqa, in northern Syria, Al Mayadeen TV channel reported on Sunday.


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